Strong Bad has been part of the collective conscience of my friendship group for years now. The lovable not-really-a-rogue has penetrated the sub-culture of the internet and gone on to be something of a poster child for the wonderful things the internet can do. He is, as a character, almost entirely unique and the world he occupies is unlike so many others. The land of Homestar Runner and his collectively bizarre chums manages to be something of an anomaly in the media. Not surreal enough to be a Nickelodeon Cartoon, too pedestrian for Cartoon Network and far too adult for anyone else, Strong Bad’s emails managed to be a kid’s show for adults in a very real sense. No foul language and a light hearted tone of care free every day happenings made it feel so much like the cartoons you watched when you were 8, but the humour and general plot of the things were clearly aimed at an adult audience. What you got, then, was a show that captured that unique part of a growing teen: the inner child trying to be the adult man. It was wonderful. Then they announced the game.
Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People was a ballsy move. Not only were Telltale taking on a relatively low key IP, they were also taking on one which had very little sense being a video game. The Homestar Website had games already, and many acted as parodies of popular franchises like Megaman and text based adventure games, but a game actually set in the land The Brothers Chaps built? That was quite the task. The problem was less about having too many or few ideas and more about just how the hell do you take the humour of everyday nonsense and make it somehow have a game narrative? The answer came in 5 episodes, an experiment with a mixed level of success. Each of the episodes almost represents an entirely different way of tackling the problem, and each has their own charms and flaws.
The final episode was a true finale. Doing the “Strong Bad in multiple video game worlds” was fun and fantastic fan service, allowing the designers to use some of the Brother Chaps more playful stabs at gaming to make a set of scenes that truly used the video game format to deliver some great punch lines. The multi-universe setup, while cheesy, was so brilliantly presented and introduced there were no issues in accepting the plot device, and the Videlectrix technicians had some of the funniest lines in the series. The actual puzzle design was pretty straight forward, with the most confusing involving on clicking something twice, but the overall pace and humour actually made this more than forgivable, even making it a good decision. The episode bounces along at such a fun pace that puzzle interruptions would only have hampered an otherwise enjoyable experience. Also, Trogdor. TROGDOOOOOOOR!
Overall SBCG4AP (yes, that is an acronym, unbelievable isn’t it...) was one of the best experiences I got out of my Wii. While the series was about as consistent as a rollercoaster the very idea of making Strong Bad into a game was enough to charm me. The fact that 3/5 of the episodes were great made the deal only sweeter. Possibly the cultist set of games ever made, SBCG4AP will stick with me as the highest budget in-joke ever produced, and for that alone, it remains a favourite. Something only a downloadable service could give us, delivered in a fashion that couldn’t suit it better.
LOOK WHO CAME: